I Survived for a Year Living in a Landfill and Sound Stage

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I remember my first year of college like it happened yesterday. Moving into my own place felt so, adultlike. And I was ready to be the man of the house—or rather, the dorm I shared with two other guys.

The school sent us our roommates’ names prior to move-in day. Like any savvy millennial I found Jordy* and Koda* on Facebook and we befriended each other. Jordy started a group Facebook message. He immediately began promising things I would soon find out couldn’t come to fruition. “I’ll bring my Xbox and a TV,” Jordy said.

“Sweet,” Koda responded. I shared Koda’s sentiments and prepared for move-in day.

I arrived first at our new abode escorted by my mother, who helped me unload my boxes into my section of the room. I had no idea how the room would look nor did I even know that triple rooms existed. But I didn’t care.

To call the roughly 600 sq. ft room a morbid, lackluster and boring take on a cell on Locked Up: Abroad seemed like an understatement. But that didn’t stop the zeal from flickering in my eyes. This eyesore just needed some sprucing. And the room’s odd “L” Tetris shape fit perfectly into my first college dorm experience. Or so I thought.

Koda arrived second, coming in from California. He was an average height, lanky, Asian guy. He definitely gave off the typically California laissez-faire vibe. We made small talk and explored the campus.

Jordy arrived the following day. He messaged us saying he came a few days beforehand to try to set up a flat screen up with his dad to no avail. No flat screen also meant no XBox. Apparently there was a compatibility issue with the wires. I felt a bit disappointed but he reassured us that he’d still bring a TV.

Later that day I emerged from a midday shower to see a large, football player sized, curly head mixed guy. I figured either the football team put on a celebrity walk-through or this was Jordy. It was the latter. Meeting someone half naked sounds terribly awkward but it makes a great icebreaker.

They both seemed like cool guys. The TV Jordy brought looked prehistoric; it dated all of us combined. It received three channels max. But it was better than nothing so I happily thanked him for bringing it.

Our first day together felt a bit awkward. We tried to fill it with small talk and abrupt exits from the room. Imagine The Real World without the cameras. It all didn’t mesh until that night.

As I enjoyed some shut eye, I heard the two of them talking. I unfortunately suffer from being a light sleeper and wake up to any noise. I laid there for a moment thinking whether or not I should join in on the conversation. Was I tired? Yes. Did class start tomorrow? Yes. Was it 11 p.m.? Yes. Am I a college student and is this a lifetime experience? Yes.

So I bolted up like Frankenstein and interjected into the conversation as if I was a fly on the wall given human form. We laughed, discussed high school and even found out the Jordy was a sophomore that stayed in a dorm at a different college.

The weeks passed and we learned more about one another’s habits. I constantly left the room because I like my own space, Jordy let his room get unkempt and Koda constantly played guitar.

Initially, our differences seemed bearable. But as time progressed things began to wane.

When I took my nap in between classes, Koda would FaceTime his brother on his laptop with no headphones. I tried my best to sleep through it to no avail. He also played the guitar during my naps often in unison with his brother as if they were practicing for America’s Got Talent.

I thought it was inconsiderate but I didn’t say anything. I wanted to keep the peace that I paid for that entire semester.

Jordy was a slob. His personal garbage always sat there stuffed to the brim. His solution? Toss the trash around his bed. His area looked like a landfill. His bed was Saturn, circled with of garbage.

My disgust with him and his uncleanliness came to a boil one night. I happened to woke up in the middle of the night and turned to my right where a wall guarded my bed. A giant cockroach ran down my wall. And I freaked out.

Fortunately, my roommates weren’t present to feel my wrath. As I calmed myself and turned toward another wall I saw another. I stormed to the RAs room demanding his removal and a for pest control to make a visit. She seemed unmoved and advised me that I could change rooms and an exterminator could come in a few days. Unsatisfied, I could go nowhere else to go but back to my roach nest.

I kept the lights on all night from then on. I never saw another roach thanks to the exterminators, but I blamed Jordy’s filth for attracting those pests.

There were a few other dorm related unpleasantries we shared. The shower rose to tepid at its warmest in the late fall and winter. We couldn’t control the room temperature. Both things I can deal with but added into my incompatibility with my roommates. They only exacerbated my disdain for campus living.

Once the semester ended I packed and bolted back home. I decided that my first on-campus stay would also be my last and I came to that conclusion about my relationships with Jordy and Koda, too. We’re still friends on Facebook for what that’s worth.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

DeLon is a junior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland-College Park. He enjoys traveling and having new experiences.

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